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Senate Dems urge NIH to renew gun research grants

Senate Dems urge NIH to renew gun research grants
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Senate Democrats are calling on the National Institutes of Health to renew recently-lapsed funding for gun violence research following the Las Vegas concert shooting.

In a letter to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Disney laying off 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters theme parks Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE (Mass.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Biden decides on pick for secretary of State Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (Conn.), and 21 others joined Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care MORE (I-Vt.) in saying that continuing the program is urgent.

“With 93 Americans dying per day from gun-related fatalities, it is critical that NIH dedicate a portion of its resources to the public health consequences of gun violence,” the senators wrote.

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Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, President Obama directed health agencies to begin funding research into firearms. The NIH awarded a total of $18 million for nearly two dozen research projects.

But the funding expired in January and the agency has yet to renew it.

The Dickey Amendment, which was inserted into a congressional spending bill in 1996, has effectively stopped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence.

The amendment prohibits the agency from using government money "to advocate or promote gun control.”

In their letter, the senators noted that while the amendment does bar research promoting gun control, it does not prohibit objective, scientific inquiries into prevention.

Obama also argued that research was not advocacy, which was what allowed the NIH to originally award grants.